Summer recipe ideas

Bask in the rich flavours of summer with our favourite recipes, from light bites and hearty mains to indulgent desserts and refreshing drinks – perfect for a barbecue with friends, picnic in the sun or just a relaxed summer evening

Chopped tomatoes and knife on cutting board, fresh vegetables on the table, top view. (Photo by: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)

Light bites

Whether you’re looking for a snack or a side, these simple light bites are sure to bring sunshine to your plate.

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Fava bean falafels
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Fava Falafels ©Keiron Tovell

These tasty falafels are packed full of flavour and, instead of the more common chickpea recipe, they are made with fava beans in the style of an Egyptian taameyyya. Often overlooked, the humble fava bean is rich in protein and has been grown in Britain for thousands of years, making it a more eco-friendly option. Our falafels make a great lunchtime snack alongside flatbread and hummus. 

  • Click here for the ingredients and method for fava bean falafels
Watermelon and feta salad
TORONTO, ON - JULY 12: Ingredients to make a watermelon salad with feta from the cookbook Dandelion & Quince.
Watermelon and feta salad © Getty 

Nothing says summer like this salad from BBC Good Food. The combination of sweet watermelon, salty feta and cool mint is both refreshing and healthy, making it an essential at any picnic or barbecue. It’s also extremely simple, and can be whipped up as a last minute side dish. 

  • Find the method and ingredients for the salad here
Vegetable samosas
WASHINGTON, DC- DECEMBER 17, 2014:    Sweet Potato Samosas    (Photo by Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post).
Vegetable samosas © Getty

Everyone’s partial to a samosa, and this vegetarian recipe from BBC Good Food will be an all-round success at any summer buffet or picnic. With classic ingredients that are most likely already in your cupboard, these make for impressive yet budget-friendly party food. 

  •  Visit the website here to learn how to make the samosas
Tomato lunchbox tarts
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Tomato lunchbox tarts

A staple of British summer cooking, the cherry tomato adds sweetness and freshness to any meal. Our tarts are surprisingly simple and will bring the taste of the Mediterranean to your lunchbox, whether it’s a day in the office or a walk in the countryside. 

  •  Click here find out how to make these delicious tarts

Hearty mains

Using classic summer ingredients, these mains will be the star of any barbecue or alfresco dinner. 

Asparagus, watercress and cherry tomato risotto
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Asparagus, watercress and cherry tomato risotto

An Italian classic using British ingredients, this fresh yet filling risotto makes the perfect evening meal accompanied by a glass of wine. This recipe is ideal if you grow your own ingredients. For an extra element of flavour, pancetta makes a great addition. 

  • For the ingredients and method for this risotto, click here.

Get your kids involved in growing their own vegetables

BBQ pulled pork roll
Pulled pork sandwich with meat, green sprouts and bbq ketchup, served on wood cutting board with small bottle of tomato sauce and bowl of greens over bright blue wooden background. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)
Pulled pork roll © Getty 

We’re well into barbecue season, and it’s time to get creative. Pulled pork is a classic barbecue favourite, so make your own with BBC Good Food‘s popular recipe. It’s sweet, tangy and guaranteed to leave everyone asking for second helpings. 

  • Visit the BBC Good Food website for this recipe, by clicking here
Sea beet paneer
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Sea beet paneer

Mainly grown in coastal regions, sea beet is a wild vegetable that has rapidly gained popularity in recent years. In the same family as beetroot and spinach, it combines earthiness and saltiness with a robust texture, making it a preferred alternative to spinach in many dishes. Cook it with paneer for this delicious curry, superb as a flavoursome summer meal.

  •  To learn more about sea beet and this recipe, click here
Summer vegetable curry
BRUNSWICK, ME - JULY 25: The author garnishes a plate of vegetable curry with cilantro leaves. Earlier in the process cilantro seeds and stems were added to the dish. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)
Summer vegetable curry © Getty

Curry is a British staple, and this vegetarian version has all the heartiness and flavour of a classic curry, but in a super-healthy adaptation. Add any vegetables you have in the cupboard, and enjoy the fragrant flavours of this comforting dish. 

  •  Find the recipe for this BBC Good Food curry here. 

Indulgent desserts

Round off your summer feast with one of these deliciously indulgent desserts, using fresh and seasonal ingredients. 

Berry almond tartlets with white chocolate
Tartlet with custard and fresh glazed raspberries, served on black marble surface. Top view. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)
Berry almond tartlets with white chocolate © Getty 

This mouthwatering recipe will satisfy those with a sweet tooth. Raspberry and chocolate are a winning combination, and the addition of mint gives these BBC Good Food tartlets a fresh makeover, perfect for a summer tea party. 

  • Click here for the ingredients and method for the tarts. 
Vegan Eton mess
Traditional summer dessert Eton Mess. Broken meringue with whipped cream, berry jam, fresh blueberries and raspberries in two glasses, decorated by mint leaves over gray concrete background. Top view. (Photo by: Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)
Vegan Eton mess © Getty 

Desserts don’t get more summery than an Eton Mess, and this vegan take on a British classic means everyone can enjoy it. The recipe from BBC Good Food finds an ingenious use for chickpeas as an alternative to egg whites. 

  • Find out more by clicking here.
Summer berry brûlée
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - UNSPECIFIED DATE:  In this handout photo provided by the Cherry Marketing Institute, Creme Brulee with Tart Cherry Compote.  (Photo by John L. Russell/Cherry Marketing Institute via Getty Images)
Summer berry brûlée © Getty 

End an evening of summer dining with rich, creamy crème brûlée, a great crowd-pleaser. This BBC Good Food version has a delicious summer twist, with a berry coulis at the bottom. Use whichever berries you’re able to forage in your area. 

  •  Get the recipe for these delectable desserts here

Blackberry guide: where to find them and how to cook them

Funnel cakes
Funnel cakes with fresh berries and whipped cream. (Photo by: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)
Funnel cakes © Getty 

Funnel cakes are an American funfair favourite, similar to churros. These will go down a treat with children and adults alike at a summer party – they’re fun to make, and a delicious guilty pleasure. 

  • Find out how to bring the funfair to your home by clicking here for the BBC Good Food recipe.  

Summer drinks

Complete your summer feast with our choice of drinks recipes. From a fun slushie for the kids to a tasty punch for the grownups, we’ve got you covered. 

Watermelon and strawberry slushie
Watermelon smoothies. (Photo by: Anjelika Gretskaia/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images)
Watermelon and strawberry slushie © Getty 

Nothing is more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer’s day, and this extremely simple recipe is one kids can make themselves. The additions of strawberry, lime and mint make for a tropical treat. As a fun serving suggestion, you could hollow out the watermelon to use as a bowl. 

  •  For this fun and simple BBC Good Food recipe, click here
Summer punch
Pina Colada Sangria photographed on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Summer punch © Getty 

This zesty drink is perfect for a summer gathering, and ideal if you make your own elderflower cordial. Add fresh herbs such as mint and basil for an extra kick of flavour, and swap the sparkling water for champagne if you fancy something a bit stronger. 

  • Find the BBC Good Food recipe for summer punch here. 
Elderflower cordial
Pouring elderflower cordial into drinking glas
Elderflower cordial © Getty 

Make the most of the season’s produce by picking your own elderflower this summer, and use it to make this delicious cordial, perfect for taking on a summer picnic. It also goes particularly well with gin, and you can use left-over elderflowers to make our delicious elderflower and gooseberry jam. 

  • For our recipe for elderflower cordial, as well as a guide on how to find them and other recipe ideas, click here. 
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Main image © Getty